Stein-Otto Svorstøl

How I work, an informational manual

First written January 20, 2022.
Last updated April 28, 2022.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve seen people share “instruction manuals” for themselves shared through their personal websites. I recognize I’d value this instructional/informational overview for my own manager, so I might as well provide that for those who I manage, those that I work with, and the managers that I report to. This article summarizes my motivations for doing this nicely, and a few of those that have inspired me are Isaac Hepworth and Den Delimarsky.

Please note, that this is a continuous work in progress, as I learn and improve. If it doesn’t make sense or doesn’t fit with your experience of me, please reach out.

Principles

A couple of things I value and believe in:

Work Schedule

I usually work from around 8-9 to 16-17. A few days a week I might work longer or get a few more hours in later in the evening. This might mean that you’ll receive messages or emails from me outside working hours. This does not mean I expect an answer. You’ll answer when you have time. If it’s urgent, I’ll call. It’s almost never that urgent.

Communication

I prefer asynchronous communication via Slack/messaging tool, over emails. I do not expect instant replies, even during the regular workday. I like when my team uses open team Slack channels to ask questions or talk about ideas because I believe it empowers the whole team.

Inbox Zero is great, and I follow it. But, most emails are not urgent, so I do not handle them as such. I check my email around twice a day. This means that if you need a fast answer, call instead of e-mailing. Or call me after the email is sent. To me, an email can wait to be answered for two days. If not, one should tell the recipient about the urgency.

To me, discussions fit better in Slack or a meeting, rather than email. Usually, we have discussions over a particular decision. It’s easier to have these discussions if we write out the alternatives, the arguments for each of them, beforehand. This helps us get to the details, and where we disagree, faster.

Meetings

When calling for a meeting, I try to be clear on:

I love when the people I work with follow the same format, as I believe it makes it is easier to work and deliver value together.

It’s worth mentioning that I appreciate that some meetings need to be more ad hoc, and not as planned. It’s nice to be clear on that need as well. This is crucial in these times of hybrid work.

Speaking of hybrid work: I want to work asynchronous where possible and reduce the time we’re in synchronous meetings. This enables us to do more and saves our time off.

Feedback

Feedback is highly appreciated. I love to continuously improve. It’s nice to know what I’m doing well, but it’s even better when I’m told what to do differently.

Other notes

Any thoughts, comments or corrections after reading this post? Please, do reach out by E-mail. Thanks.

Post is tagged with: #management